Winter is just around the corner so you better be ready. But do you know how to prep your snow blower, before the first snow falls? Now is the time to make sure your snow blower is ready for a full season of snow, ice, slush, sand and salt.
Aside from the difference in parts, making sure your snow blower is ready for the season is fairly similar to taking care of your car. You already have the tools, and maybe even a little garage space, so there are only a few things left to do.
How to Prep Your Snow Blower: Pre-Season
Before the snow even starts flying, and then sadly settling, here are five things to check before winter puts your snow blower to the test.
- Torque, tension and pressure: Your snow blower generates a lot of vibration, which tends to loosen screws, nuts and bolts over time. Tighten up anything that needs it, using a drop or two of threadlocker to keep them from loosening again. Make sure the drive belts are in good condition and properly tensioned. Double check tire pressure and fix any leaks before the season starts.
- Oil, gas and grease: You might not have put 5,000 miles on your snow blower last season, but it’s a good idea to replace the crankcase oil anyway. Also, if the fuel is more than 30-days old, or six months old with fuel stabilizer, replace it. While you’re at it, lubricate any moving parts with heavy grease or spray lubricant.
- Spark plug, air filter and fuel filter: Readily available and inexpensive, ensure good air and fuel supply with a new air filter and fuel filter, and ensure ignition with a new spark plug.
- Accessories: Make sure accessories, such as headlights or remote starters, are working properly.
- Spare parts: Keep extra drive belts, shear pins or shear bolts, skid shoes, light bulbs or fuses, on hand, just in case something breaks midseason.
How to Prep Your Snow Blower: Post-Season
This season’s snow blower prep, or lack thereof, actually started about seven or eight months ago, at the end of last season. So here are five things that should be on your snow blower prep list for next season.
- Belts: Loosen or remove belts entirely to help them resist fatigue and store them out of direct sunlight to prevent UV damage.
- Augers and skid shoes: Are the augers and shoes still in good condition? If they’re getting close to their wear limits, perhaps now is the time to order a new set.
- Cleanup: Clean your snow blower of leftover sand and salt, and make sure the machine is thoroughly dry before you put it away for the season.
- Fuel and spark plug: Drain the fuel, and let the engine run until the last of it runs out. Then, remove the spark plug and put a few drops of engine oil in the cylinder to prevent rust. Re-install the spark plug finger tight to keep out critters and dust.
- Block and cover: Finally, put a block under the chassis to get the tires off the ground, and then cover the entire unit with a tarp or cover to keep dust out of the workings. If battery equipped, disconnect the battery and consider putting it on a float charger.